How can I use a contract to avoid construction disputes?

Property owners across Orlando are looking to reconstruct, expand, renovate and otherwise change their homes or buildings on a regular basis. Sometimes these changes are necessary for a structure to be in compliance with certain codes; other times, the property owner is looking to make cosmetic changes in the hopes of increasing a property's value.

Whether you are looking to make a big change or more minor changes to a property, it can be crucial that you protect yourself, the project and your bottom line with a construction contract. These documents can be enormously valuable in helping people avoid disputes and clearly define expectations before going into a construction project. If you are about to break ground on a new project, there are some things you may want to consider regarding a construction contract.

To begin with, you should have the basic details of a project defined in the contract. This can include details like how long the job is expected to take, how much will be charged for the work and specifications on materials and labor. If this information is submitted as a bid, the bidding party must understand that if the bid is accepted, the terms are then enforceable.

You may also want to consider any clauses that dictate how disputes will be resolved if they arise. Some contracts, for example, state that parties must go through arbitration versus litigation so it can be important that you understand what this means and whether you are comfortable giving up the option to take a case to court.

Construction contracts may also include certain clauses that address problems that could likely come up during a project. For example, if you had a bad experience in the past with a construction company that would not accept certain types of payment, you may be inclined to specify payment options with future construction companies in a contract.

Making the effort to draft an appropriate and enforceable document can save a lot of time and money in the long run. Likewise, reviewing a contract before signing it can allow parties to ask questions and get clarifications before they agree to something they may not understand or want. In either case, it can be wise to discuss any construction contract with an attorney familiar with the limitations and protections put in place by these documents.